Spatial Business Initiative

The Spatial Business Initiative is a unique alliance between the University of Redlands School of Business & Society and Esri, the global leader in mapping software. The Spatial Business Initiative aims to maximize the understanding and effectiveness of geographic information systems (GIS) in business through education, publishing, research, and advising.

Mastering the Business of Where

The use of GIS in business is growing every day, with the global GIS and location analytics industry expected to grow from $8.1 billion in 2020 to $14 billion by 2025.1

The University of Redlands published a survey of employers asking them how GIS and location analytics fits into their business model. The results are striking:

  • 86 percent of businesses use location analytics in more than one organizational function.
  • 59 percent perceive value in location-based business and consumer insights.
  • Over 20 percent of businesses are currently best-in-class, spatially mature enterprises.

As a 21st century business student, having the skills and experience to harness these technologies will be critical to your professional development.

In partnership with the Center for Spatial Studies, the Spatial Business Initiative is dedicated to advancing industry knowledge and expanding how you can use location intelligence in your career.

Academic Programs

There are several ways that you can learn GIS and location analytics through our degree and non-degree academic programs.

MBA with a Concentration in Location Analytics

An MBA with a concentration in location analytics equips you with the skills to unlock the potential of spatial data, solve real-world problems, and gain a competitive advantage in today’s business world. As a graduate, you’ll be prepared to use the power of location intelligence to improve decision-making, organizational performance, and business development.

Master of Science in Business Analytics

A Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) can give you the edge you need to succeed in a data-driven economy. Being able to harness the power of business analytics can help you create meaningful insights and make strategic, ethical decisions that will enhance your organization and your career.

Business Location Analytics Certificate

A Business Location Analytics Certificate is a three-course graduate certificate program that can help you gain valuable skills in GIS and location analytics in a short period of time. Learning the power of mapping demographic trends can enhance your business decision-making and visual storytelling skills.

“Esri is proud to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative. Education has always been an important part of our mission. The business world is increasingly relying on spatial data today to make better-informed decisions, so it is more important than ever that students have a foundation in location intelligence.”
Jack Dangermond Esri Founder and President

Special Events

In addition to our academic programs, the Spatial Business Initiative also offers special events and programs that connect you with experts and working professionals in GIS and business analytics.

Spatial Business Academy

The three-day event provided executives from a variety of companies with training that blended business knowledge with location analytics.


An annual research conference on the main University of Redlands campus advances the knowledge and practice of spatial business use. The conference builds and nurtures a community of researchers, scholars, students, and practitioners interested in the use of location analytics and GIS in business.

Executive Training

The Spatial Business Initiative sponsors executive retreats and workshops for leaders at Esri and other organizations in the private sector.

Other Spatial Initiatives

In addition to business, GIS is influencing other areas of study across the University, including computer science, liberal arts, economics, and more.

The Department of Geographic Information Science

The Department of Geographic Information Science currently offers a Master of Science in GIS, Master of GIS, Undergraduate GIS Pathway Program, and Online GIS Certificate to students, professionals, and recent graduates. These programs are ideal for those seeking to enhance their knowledge of the analysis, management, application, and communication of geographic information.

The Center for Spatial Studies

The Center for Spatial Studies works to integrate spatial thinking and technologies into liberal arts instruction, research, and service throughout the University.

The Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis

The Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis focuses on science- and research-based spatial analysis and forecasts of economic phenomena. The institute puts a special emphasis on issues such as employment and unemployment, housing, retail, logistics, industry analysis, and economic risk assessment.


News and Publications

Learn more about upcoming events and see what your peers and faculty are publishing.

  • Spatial Business: Competing and Leading with Location Intelligence, Esri Press, August 2022. Aimed at professional and business school audiences, this book explores the nature and advantages of using location analytics in business, moving from an overview of the field to specific case studies. Learn more and order
  • Watch Thomas Horan’s Esri Spotlight interview: Mastering the Business of Where
  • Read Thomas Horan’s article in Esri’s WhereNext magazine: The Next MBA You Hire Should Know GIS